To qualify for the PhD degree, a thesis must be submitted. Generally speaking, a PhD thesis at RSI is considered to be a body of work roughly equivalent to three peer-reviewed research papers (at minimum), with an appropriate scholarly introduction and general discussion. However, depending on the nature of the research project, students can also format their thesis as a traditional, monograph-style format organized as a single narrative. The format of the thesis should be discussed with the supervisor and the supervisory committee.

Ultimately, the expectation is that the thesis work will reflect an original contribution to knowledge and that the candidate should have demonstrated an appropriate level of scholarship in their chosen field.